Internationally renowned for its high-end shopping, Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland, has naturally gone through many changes over the years. And given the significance of the street and its value to the city, there has been a strong movement in recent times to ensure that the retailers who occupy the spaces contribute to the upscale feel of the neighborhood. With this in mind, the new Boodle & Dunthorne (Boodles) store at the corner of Dublin’s Grafton Street and Harry Street was particularly welcomed by residents and architecture critics alike. Bolstered by an interior design that includes Azul Macaubas slabs on the walls, the store maintains the street’s storied reputation as a premier international shopping district.
The store was designed by Eva Jiricna Architects of London, England, which has been called upon to design several Boodles locations. The firm’s work often uses steel, stone and glass in concert with one another, and this was the theme for the Boodles space in Dublin.
Upon entering the store, visitors are immediately drawn to the large book-matched slabs of Azul Macaubas on the walls. The materials, which have a rich, blue color and have been used for upscale projects around the world, were quarried in Brazil and supplied by Grein Italia of Affi, Verona, Italy.
The luster of the stonework is enhanced through the use of complementary metal and glass. Eva Jiricna Architects has often featured an innovative staircase design as a focal point of the Boodles spaces, and the Dublin branch was no exception. A unique grand staircase, with glass stair treads (etched for slip-resistance) and decorative metal handrails and supports, runs alongside the Azul Macaubas wall. The wall enclosing the staircase is also made of glass, thus ensuring that the patron’s view of the stonework is unobstructed.
The new Boodles location in Dublin opened its doors in June of 2006, and it was very well received by architectural aficionados in the community. In a November 2006 article in the Sunday Independent on the new retailers on Grafton Street - on which about 80,000 people walk every day - the Boodles store was praised for its combination of “elegance with a contemporary feel.”